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Spotlight | Human Heart Nature Marine Caviar HydroMiracle Moisturizer.

If you're a fan of salads or seafood, then you've probably heard of or tried 'lato', the quirky-looking seaweed that resembles caviar. Scientifically known as Caulerpa lentillifera, these teeny-weeny grape-like beads are indigenous in the Philippines, and are particularly abundant in Bohol, Palawan, and Sorsogon.

Like most products from the sea, lato is rich in vitamins and minerals that are great not just for the body, but for the skin, too. Human Heart Nature, my all-time favorite local skincare brand, tapped the potential of these lovely little sea grapes and came up with an a new skincare product with lato as its main ingredient. Meet the Marine Caviar HydroMiracle Moisturizer, the second installment in Human Heart Nature's Marine Caviar skincare line.
Human Heart Nature Marine Caviar HydroMiracle Moisturizer.
Bursting with natural wonders from lato farmed in Bohol, the Marine Caviar HydroMiracle Moisturizer is packed with vitamin A that encourages healthy skin cell production, and vitamin C, which is known for its anti-oxidant properties. It intensively hydrates the skin all day long, and makes it plump and dewy-looking.
Product details at the back of the bottle.
Aside from lato, this product also contains sunflower seed oil, a rich source of vitamin E and a potent ingredient against acne, redness, and skin irritation. It's also infused with beetroot extract which helps in clearing blemishes and evens out the skin tone; bamboo stem extract which strengthen the skin's barrier and restores skin resilience; aloe leaf juice, known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties; and mimosa flower wax which works as an emollient to soften the skin and retain skin moisture.
List of ingredients. (Click to enlarge)
The Marine Caviar HydroMiracle Moisturizer can be used both as a daytime and nighttime moisturizer. I prefer using it in the morning, because it works great as a makeup base. I love its light and silky formula that instantly hydrates and easily blends into the skin without the oily, greasy feel. It does make the skin look healthy and dewy after application, which is surprisingly similar to that 'chok chok' effect that I get from my favorite Korean skincare products. (Watch out, Innisfree! You now have a contender in my skincare routine!)
Easy-to-squeeze pump.
I also like its mild, citrus-y scent, though some of you might not be keen on facial products that leave a lingering scent on the skin. Well, at least the fragrance component of this moisturizer is still very natural as it comes from limonene, a chemical derived from peels of citrus fruits.
A pump or two would be enough to cover your entire face. :)
The Human Heart Nature Marine Caviar HydroMiracle Moisturizer comes in a 50 mL bottle and retails for Php 495. You can purchase it through the Human Heart Nature website, Human Heart Nature dealers, or at a Human Heart Nature store near you. 

This product is best used with the Marine Caviar HydroMiracle Face Cleanser, which I have yet to try. I had originally planned to try both products together, but the cleanser was out of stock when the moisturizer was launched. Will post a separate review for the cleanser as soon as I get my hands on one. :)


PropTech in the Philippines.

New ideas that aim to reinvent the real estate industry are born every five minutes. PropTech is beneficial to the real estate brokers, property seekers, and even developers.

Any idea what PropTech is?
It is a result of combining ‘property’ and ‘technology’ in one word. The news lately says that PropTech is about to disrupt the real estate industry. But, would it affect you? Does it go beyond finding yourself a house or property with the use of technology?
PropTech = property + technology.
What is PropTech 
According to James Dearsley, PropTech is “one small part of the wider digital transformation of the property industry. It describes a movement driving a mentality change with the real estate industry and its consumers regarding technology-driven innovation in the data assembly, transaction, and design of buildings and cities.”

In the real estate industry’s commercial and construction side, PropTech helps envision future buildings and cities. Interesting, right? That’s why journalists, investors, and entrepreneurs are attracted to the trend. Simplifying the many definitions for PropTech, it is a term for startups that offer technological business models and innovative products for the real estate markets.

It involves all the companies working on the betterment of the real estate industry. They strive to do this through the constantly changing digital landscape and consumption patterns. PropTech is a new trend and its scale, surely, will change over time.

Some examples
To give you a deeper understanding of PropTech, one example is how the co-working trend affects the office space sector. Suddenly, company owners do not necessarily need a whole office building to house employees and conduct business. Another is the new alternative in residential real estate that is co-living. More and more young people today are choosing to move to high-priced urban areas.

Meanwhile, crowdfunding touches on new construction and real estate investing, as home swapping is becoming more and more popular for rentals that are seasonal. The last example for PropTech would be the new professions that appear together with jobs in the traditional real estate industry. You’ll be surprised there is now a need for drone pilots, data aggregators, and virtual home staging specialists.
Lee Joon Gi, just because.
Digital property viewing
PropTech is what enables buyers to choose the best property investment online. No need to travel to property sites or visit showrooms. As proof, the online property portal Lamudi shares its record of 15 million user visits to its site in 2017. It was even noted 60% of their site traffic is organic, which means people go to their site without being prompted by a paid advertisement. Repeat searches show just how serious these people are to buy a property.

It is not a surprise that according to the analytics, most of the people who search for a property investment online are millennials. After all, they are the ones who like window shopping the most and know how to do it smartly and conveniently. They prefer to do it themselves online in spite of having relatives or friends who are real estate agents or brokers. As a result, these professionals use the power of the Internet to sell.
Reshaping the real estate market.
Interesting findings
PropTech also allows property sellers to get important information about their market through analytics. Quezon City, based on Lamudi’s data, has the most number of property listings and the highest number of property searches. The city of Makati comes second in the same criteria. Established cities such as Cebu and Davao also show a growing number of searches, as well as emerging cities such as Bacolod, General Santos, Iloilo, and Cagayan De Oro.

In terms of property type, the top choice for majority of property hunters is still houses (59%), followed by condominiums (14%). Out of the overall searches, house and lot properties amounting to 5 million pesos and below make up 49% of the overall searches.

New ideas that aim to reinvent the real estate industry – either all or part of it – are born every five minutes. Filipinos depend on the Internet for almost everything, including finding the best property available in the market. Everyone knows how to maximize the use of technology in making thorough comparisons, which makes PropTech beneficial to real estate brokers, property seekers, and even developers.


Spotlight | Avon K-Beauty Collection.

Annyeong yeorobun! (Hello everyone!)
It's been awhile since I last did a product review on this blog, let alone publish a beauty-related post. Mianhe! (Sorry!) The past few weeks had been extremely toxic for me, and I had no time to shoot product photos and take swatches of all these items in my 'to-blog' list.

Thankfully, our unexpected long weekend gave me the opportunity to take photos and swatches, and finally write about the Avon K-Beauty Collection. Yes, you read it right - K-Beauty!

Avon, the iconic beauty/household brand that most women (especially Filipinas) know and love, recently partnered with a top South Korean H&H (household & health care) company as part of its continued transformation and reinvention. The result? This new and offbeat range of beauty products straight from South Korea - the home of 'chok chok' skin, dewy makeup, and skincare innovation.
The Avon K-Beauty Collection.
I received this package several weeks ago, and I was very much impressed with the brand/PR's attention to detail. This package actually came in a lovely bojagi (traditional Korean wrapping cloth) for even more K-culture (more like K-drama) feels. I love it! The PR package resembled those gifts that Koreans receive during special occasions, like Chuseok or Seollal.
The Avon K-Beauty collection wrapped inside this bojagi.
Now here's a closer look at the Avon K-Beauty Collection. First up, the Avon True Color Power Essence Color Correcting Cushion. Avon totally nailed it with the long product name, haha! Korean beauty products are notorious for their ridiculously long, tongue-twister-like names, and this new CC cushion from Avon is no exception.
Avon True Color Power Essence Color Correcting Cushion. 
The Avon True Color Power Essence Color Correcting Cushion (Php 799) is a cushion compact infused with color-correcting pigments that target common complexion concerns (dullness, redness, uneven skin tone) for instantly improved, radiant skin.
A closer look at the Avon True Color Power Essence Color Correcting Cushion.
It comes in a chunkier-than-usual black compact complete with a mirror and a standard puff applicator. What's interesting about this cushion is that you don't have to use the puff to 'pick up' the product. Instead, you press the pan for the product to come out of those tiny holes. 
The puff applicator + the cushion pan.
The Avon True Color Power Essence Color Correcting Cushion comes in three shades - Light, Nude, and Shell. I find Nude to be the shade most suitable for my skin tone. It's light beige in color and has a cooler undertone compared to Shell. 
From L-R: CC01 Light, CC02 Nude, CC02 Shell.
This product has a sheer and lightweight formula and offers light to medium coverage. Keep it mind that CC's do not usually provide full coverage; rather they are meant to address skin issues like redness or sallowness, and for me, the Avon True Color Power Essence Color Correcting Cushion does exactly that. 
Bare face.
Wearing the Avon True Color Power Essence Color Correcting Cushion
in CC02 Nude.
All dolled up, with the Avon True Color Power Essence Color
Correcting Cushion as my makeup base + Avon True Color Dual Gradient Lipstick
in Mauve Maven on my lips.
I've been using this as my makeup base for the past few weeks, and I love its instant glowing effect on my skin! It does a good job of covering my skin imperfections, but still looks very natural on the skin. This cushion also offers sun protection (SPF 30 PA +++), which is a plus for me.

Also included in the package is the True Color Dual Gradient Lipstick, Avon's response to the ever-so-popular beauty trend.  If you're a fan of Korean beauty products or perhaps a K-drama addict, then you know that gradient/ombre lips hit the Korean beauty scene many, many years ago and has since gained popularity across the world.

The Avon True Color Dual Gradient Lipstick (Php 299) comes in five different shades, and I had the chance to try these three - Hollywood Red, Romantic Rose, and Mauve Maven.
Avon True Color Dual Gradient Lipstick.
Top shade - Hollywood Red, Bottom left - Romantic Rose, Bottom right - Mauve Maven.
L-R: Hollywood Red, Romantic Rose, Mauve Maven.
They're packaged in a black rectangular tube, and each lipstick is designed with a diagonal cut to help you achieve the gradient look with ease. The shades look promising from the get-go and you can definitely see the color contrast in the tube, but alas, that contrast is nowhere to be found once you swatch the shades or apply the product on your lips. 
Avon True Color Dual Gradient Lipstick in Hollywood Red.
Avon True Color Gradient Lipstick in Mauve Maven.
Avon True Color Gradient Lipstick in Romantic Rose.
If anything, the Avon True Color Dual Gradient Lipsticks are nicely pigmented, easy to apply, and are very hydrating. These lipsticks are infused with vitamin E, silk protein, and aloe extract to make your lips literally 'glisten with moisture'. I wouldn't recommend this product if you're a fan of matte lipsticks (with the exception of Hollywood Red, since this shade has a semi-matte finish), but if you're all for that creamy, satin finish, you might find this lipstick to your liking.

Finally, we have the sheet masks, all made with cutting-edge, top quality Korean ingredients. It's no secret that I'm a sheet mask addict, and I was very much excited to pamper my skin with these babies.
Avon sheet masks (clockwise from L-R): Glass Effect Hydrogel Face Mask, Jelly Kiss Lip Mask,
Cica Soothing Sheet Mask, Golden Shimmer Hydrogel Eye Mask.
The Glass Effect Hydrogel Face Mask (Php 149) is a thin, gel-like mask that promises plump and glowing glass-like skin. It's infused with Sugar Maple that enhances skin hydration and gives it a healthy glow in just ten minutes. I like the sweet and mild scent of this product, but putting it on my face was quite a challenge - the mask came in two halves, they don't fit quite well, and they felt clammy on the skin. 
Wearing the Glass Effect Hydrogel Face Mask.
The Cica Soothing Sheet Mask (Php 129), on the other hand, is a winner. Formulated with the legendary Centella asiatica (aka Cica plant), this product soothes, refreshes, and deeply nourishes the skin. It also contains lavender extract which has anti-inflammatory properties; peppermint extract which cools the skin and helps facilitate oil secretion; and rosemary extract, an anti-oxidant known for its anti-aging properties. It comes in a traditional fiber sheet mask form, and fits just right on my face. 
Wearing the Cica Soothing Sheet Mask.
Next we have the Golden Shimmer Hydrogel Eye Mask (Pho 149), perfectly-shaped eye patches in a hydrogel formula. This product contains hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin and gives your undereyes an instant brightening effect. If you pulled an all-nighter, these patches will make your eyes look less tired and significantly better if you apply them first thing in the morning.

Finally, there's the Jelly Kiss Lip Mask (Php 119), which also comes in a hydrogel formula. Packed with manuka honey, and peach and nectarine extracts, this lip mask not only smooths and hydrates, but also makes your lips plump and fuller. It feels squishy and looks funny when worn, but hey, this mask works. :)
Avon sheet masks (clockwise from L-R): Golden Shimmer Hydrogel Eye Mask, Cica Soothing Sheet Mask,
Jelly Kiss Lip Mask, Glass Effect Hydrogel Face Mask.

The Avon K-Beauty Collection is available at all Avon outlets, the Avon online shop, and through your Avon lady. 

Which of these products are you excited to try? :)


Seoul Searching | What to Do in Seoul During Chuseok.

Chuseok 추석 is one of the biggest and most-awaited holidays in South Korea. Also known as the mid-autumn / harvest festival, Chuseok is the equivalent of Thanksgiving Day in America and is usually celebrated for three days. However, this year's Chuseok holiday will be observed for four days - from  Thursday (September 12) all the way 'til Sunday (September 15).

Chuseok is one of the few times of the year when Koreans take time off from work, travel to their respective hometowns to spend time with their families, and hold memorial services for their ancestors and deceased loved ones. Many business establishments will close down in observance of the holiday, so expect Seoul to be a bit more tranquil and peaceful during this time. However, there will still be a handful of places to visit and lots of things to do for the expats and tourists who will be coming to Korea during the Chuseok holiday.

Visit a heritage site. 
Korea is world-renowned for their cultural heritage sites, and a great number of them can be found in the Seoul metropolis.

One of the more popular heritage sites is Jongmyo Shrine, the royal shrine which houses the 'spirit tablets' of the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. On regular days, visiting Jongmyo Shrine would require a reservation. But on Chuseok, the shrine will be open to the public, with free admission at that.

Ancestral rituals will be held at the shrine during the holiday, and visitors can get the chance to witness these first-hand.
Yue at the entrance to the main hall.
Jeongjeon, the main hall of Jongmyo Shrine.
Tour the Grand Palaces of Seoul.
Like Jongmyo Shrine, the Grand Palaces of Seoul will remain open during the Chuseok holiday, free of charge. However, you have to pay the regular rates should you wish to visit the Huwon (Secret Garden) in Changdeokgung or join the nighttime tour of Gyeongbokgung.
Changing of the guards at Deoksugung Palace.
Plenty of cultural experience programs await visitors during the Chuseok holiday. Musical performances and a tasting of royal tea and snacks will be held at Gyeongbokgung, while traditional mask dances and tightrope walking will be done at Changdeokgung. Musical performances will also take place at Changgyeonggung. Deoksugung, on the other hand, will present a re-creation of the welcoming ceremony for foreign envoys by Emperor Gojong of the Joseon era (1392-1910).

Get a great view of the city.
Standing 555 meters tall with 123 floors is the Lotte World Tower - the tallest building in Korea and the fifth tallest building in the world. This majestic tower houses galleries, cafés, and a luxury hotel, in addition to a skywalk and an observation deck.
Come on up to Seoul Sky!
Lotte World Tower.
The view from above.
Going all the way up to Seoul Sky is one of the best ways to get a clear, breathtaking view of the city. The cityscape becomes even more majestic by sundown, with the glittering city lights and all.

Check out a non-verbal performance.
Spice up your holiday by going to a cultural/musical performance. It doesn't matter if you're well-versed with Hangeul or not as these shows are non-verbal, and will only require tickets, your enthusiasm, and your attention.
The cast of Jump.
Photo credit: Jump official site.
If you're a martial arts enthusiast like me, you'll definitely enjoy 'Jump' an award-winning performance packed with humor, taekwondo, and other forms of martial arts. Since 2003, the show runs everyday at Myeongbo Art Hall in Jung District, Seoul

Another noteworthy non-verbal performance is 'Cooking Nanta', which runs everyday at Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and Hongdae Nanta Theatre. This show incorporates traditional percussion and humor , and has long been a popular staple since 1997.

Enjoy the great outdoors. 
Because most of the locals leave the city to travel to their hometowns during Chuseok, Seoul becomes less crowded and blissfully empty. This makes hiking trips more enjoyable and less stressful, and cycling routes become easier to navigate. Go on a bike ride along Han River, take a stroll at Seoul Forest, or if you're traveling with kids, take them to Seoul Grand Park for the Seoul Zoo Korean Thanksgiving Festival.
Autumn colors at Seoul Forest.
Seoul Grand Park.
Children's Park.
Chuseok jal bo nae sae yo! Have a wonderful Chuseok!
Here's hoping that you'll have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holidays!


A Trip to JASIF (Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms).

Two weeks ago, Yue's schoolmates went on an exposure trip to Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms (JASIF) as part of the course requirement in their EPP class (that's Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan or in English, Home Economics and Livelihood). Yue wasn't able to join the trip because he was still recovering from pneumonia at that time, so I promised him and his teacher that we'll go on a trip to JASIF as soon as his pediatrician permits.

After his follow-up check-up, Yue got his medical clearance from his pedia which allowed him to go back to school, and go out and be 'exposed to the elements' (haha). And so last Friday, we finally got to visit the Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms and experience their DOT-accredited (that's Department of Tourism) Sunflower Maze.
Welcome to Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms!
Don't be fooled by his 'Instagram pose'. He's actually thrilled to be here. :)
Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms started its construction in August 2018. The farm is located along Maharlika Highway, Barangay San Ignacio - just ten minutes away from the San Pablo City Plaza.
JASIF also offers seminars on Hydroponics, backyard gardening, and mushroom cultivation.
The development of this 2-hectare farm was spearheaded by Mr. Joni Sanchez, owner and CEO of the Joni and Susan Agroshop, with the help of his wife Susan, his children, and their spouses. For several years, the company has been planting corn as its main crop. They even offer partnerships to help others generate income through corn plantation, urban and container gardening, land conversion and mushroom plantation.
Inspecting the seedlings.
As the company started to grow, so did the crops, and more varieties were then included in the Joni and Susan Agroshop inventory. As such, the Joni and Susan Agroshop and Integrated Farms was established to create a tourist attraction focused on farming and gardening.

Here's our JASIF experience in photos:
(Sunflower Maze and more after the jump!)